Columbia defends title in Capitol tourney

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SACRAMENTO By winning back-to-back nailbiters over San Joaquin Delta of Stockton and San Jose in the semifinal and championship rounds, respectively, the Columbia College basketball team made it back-to-back championships in the Capitol Classic Tournament at Cosumnes River College..

Derrick Stewart, who averaged 21 points, 10.5 rebounds and seven assists per game game for the Claim Jumpers, captured Most Valuable players honors in the three-day tournament. Teammate Doug Carlsons 11.3 ppg earned him a spot on the all-tournament team.

Sacramento City (which Columbia beat 79-68 in the first round), Delta and San Jose are all in the top 10 in (Northern California), so those are three very good wins for us, said Columbia coach Andy Vasher, whose team is ranked fifth in the state and second in the north. We play one of the toughest schedules in the north, and were just trying to get ready for the (Central Valley) conference.

In Saturdays championship game, Columbia fell behind 35-31 at the half before Stewart and Derek Olich each hit a big 3-pointer late in the second half to rally the Claim Jumpers past San Jose 81-76.

It was really back and forth the whole way, Vasher said. Big Derrick (Stewart) hit a three to put us up two points, and then little Derek (Olich) hit another to put us up five. Then it was just a matter of trading free throws in the last minute or so of the game.

Stewart paced Columbia with 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the championship game. Carlson poured in 14 points and Jason Sherry added 10 points off the bench. Carlson and Sherry also grabbed eight and seven rebounds, respectively.

The Claim Jumpers reached the title game thanks to a clutch 3-pointer by Mikey Dyer at the buzzer in Fridays 67-65 win over Delta in a semifinal.

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The Union Democrat
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